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Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the country’s flagship skill development plan, remains suspended. In the absence of a plan to make a transition from PMKVY 2.0 to PMKVY 3.0, the government has decided to halt any new enrolments. Such a delay in the launch of PMKVY 3.0 has been brought upon due to the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, fighting off the pandemic occupies major government focus and resources.
However, PMKVY 2.0 would continue the training and employment of existing candidates. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has notified an extension in the enrolment in the eight north-eastern States till 31st May 2020. But there is no such direction for the rest of India. This means for the remaining States PMKVY 2.0 ended on 31st March 2020. As per an order dated April 1, the scheme would continue in the Financial Year 2021 till the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission Report or the Launch of PMKVY 3.0, whichever is earlier.
According to Economic Times, the government maintains that there was no issue and adequate measures are in place. Further, Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey clarified that the government will maintain continuity and quality in skill training. It would ensure that the candidates and training partners are not affected by the delay due to the lockdown. Meanwhile, the training partners are advised to work with the guidelines of respective States and Union Territories. They are to follow the Annexure-II User Manuals Due to Blackout Period for Short Term Training and make necessary updates in Skill India Portal.
Salient features of the scheme:
The Scheme aims to provide incentives for the successful accomplishment of a market-driven skill training and certification to around twenty-four lakh trainees in one year. The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Sector Skill Councils (SSCs), Assessing agencies and Training Partners are collectively responsible for the smooth operation of this scheme.
The key features of the scheme are:
- Short term training: The scheme adopts the short-term training approach. It aims to benefit school/college dropouts and unemployed youth. The training will be given at PMKVY Training Centers (TC). The training will be according to NSQF and will also be for soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy. The duration of training will depend upon the job and can vary anywhere between 150 and 300 hours.
- Training standards: Training standards are set by the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). The curriculum is decided by SSCs and approved by NSDC.
- Recognition of prior learning: Trainees with prior skills are recognized and certified under the RPL component of this program. This aims to align the competence of the unregulated workforce with the set standards of NSQF. Bridge courses are also made available. The RPL projects are of three types to be implemented by the requisite agencies.
- Special projects: These projects are a deviation from the short-term training program. They inculcate training in specific areas. Training in special areas includes that of government bodies, corporates or industry bodies, and training in special job roles.
- Kaushal and rozgar mela: The training partners are to organize a Mela once every 6 months to keep the spirit of active participation alive. They are also required to take part in National Career Services Mela and the on-ground activities for incentivizing participation. This maintains the accountability of Training Partners.
- Placement guidelines: The ultimate object of this scheme is employment. The Training Partners are to provide job opportunities as well as support for entrepreneurship to trainees.
- Monitoring Guidelines: To ascertain the quality of training, NSDC and other inspecting agencies verify and record the activities of the training centers. They can use various methods including self- audit reporting, call validations, surprise visits, etc.
- Steering Committee: Such a committee is tasked with the implementation of the scheme. It is also empowered to review the framework and make suitable modifications to maintain the highest possible efficiency.
- Grievance Redressal System: A robust grievance redressal system is in place. The Online Citizen’s Portal not only broadcasts information about the PMKVY but also acts as a grievance redressal platform.
Why is it introduced?
More than 62% of the working Indian population is in the age group of 15-59 years and around 54% below the age of 25. For such a demographic dividend to be useful, they must be skilled and employable. Only then can they make a significant contribution to economic growth. Thus, this scheme was introduced to train about 24 lakh Indian youth with an estimated cost of Rs. 1,500 Cr. The introduction of the scheme focuses on introducing such skills to the candidates that make them employable. A clear dynamic exists between skill, quality of work and efficiency. The scheme aims to balance the same by encouraging aptitude towards employable skills and thus increase efficiency.
The PMKVY targets the youth at the grass-root level and trains them to boost employability. The scheme would provide India with skilled workers that will help achieve the economic growth targets. About Rs. 1500 crore have been approved by the cabinet to yield the most out of the scheme. The farsightedness of the scheme aligns with the demand from the Central Government’s flagship programs, such as ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘National Solar Mission’ and so on.
Who can benefit from it?
This Scheme applies to any person of Indian Nationality who has either dropped out of school or college or is unemployed. The candidate must have a valid Aadhaar card and an alternate ID such as a PAN Card or Voter ID. He should also have a bank account for direct transfer of the payouts. The PMKVY aims at reducing unemployment as well as aims at utilizing the youth force of India. This scheme will ensure that the candidates enrolled with it become certified with skills and are employable in the market.
The Sharada Prasad Committee, in its report released in April 2017, observed that the targets set by the PMKVY were too ambitious. It also pointed out that the funds allocated were not being adequately monitored. Despite its targets, only 1.8% of youth gained training under this scheme. Only 16% of trainees were funded by the government. Many had to bear the cost of training themselves.
The focus of the policy is centric to short-term skill courses. And even then it resulted in low placements. The aim was to impart training in a short period but the training period for most of the trainees was 1 year. For 30% of the candidates, it took more than 2 years.
Skill development focuses on the Public-Private Partnership Model and thus it needs a lot of effort from both the players. Most private companies have training centers. The government with the PMKVY also presented an ambitious approach. Despite these efforts, there is a huge gap between the skills needed by the industry and the skills imparted through various training institutes. Even the introduction of PMKVY could not bring a significant change in the employability of youth as was claimed. This initiative suffered from severe lacuna in its implementation.
Any policy is inadequate without an appropriate implementation. Similarly, PMKVY needs to have clear, transparent and responsible implementation. Accountability should be attached to the Training Partners for the number of placement opportunities. The government needs to ensure high-quality education at school levels to prepare the youth for a better future. It should also promote vocational education in schools.
Thus, participation from more and more industries should be sought to increase the chances of employability under the scheme. Around one million youth enter the workforce every month. It is necessary to impart training to as many candidates as possible. But it should not strain the quality of training provided.
Author: Anmol Mathur from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA.
Editor: Shalu Bhati from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.